SpotiFriday is back!
Once upon a time (two years ago), we had a blog. It was delightful. It was poignant. It was ... a little exhausting to keep up with sometimes. And so we set it aside for a time.
But we have decided to pick it up again with our favorite recurrent segment, SpotiFriday! We put together Spotify playlists on a theme, each of us picking a handful of songs and writing a little blurb about why we chose that song.
To start things off, we are resharing a SpotiFriday from almost exactly two years ago, full of songs about winter and storms. You can listen to the whole playlist here, or below, or just use the hyperlinks on the song titles to give an individual track a listen. Enjoy!
What’s that? A rock song that doesn’t bring in any guitar (bass doesn’t count) for the first 30 seconds, but instead relies very heavily on the PIANO? Can’t be done, you say? Well, ask Ben Folds about that, but ask Foreigner about it first. If you don’t like this song at least a little, I question your humanity.
PIANOS CAN ROCK, TOO, YOU GUYS. — M
There’s a really easy reason to put this song in here. It’s an incredible example of 1990s hip-hop with the colorful clothes and computerized instruments and the “leaky boom boom down” hook. But it’s not here to ridicule. Listen to the lyrics. In 1992 Toronto (or probably before then) there was a rapper who was writing about police brutality and the lengths certain parts of society would go to in order to get what they, the ones who “bigger dem are they think dem have more power.” This song itself is powerful. And unfortunately resonates. #blacklivesmatter — D
I want to know the story behind this song. It’s an amazing example of “wow. we totally should not have done that. let’s never see each other again”, of course with an amazing trumpet part and the most sing-along-able chorus ever. I bet it’s a bitersweet tragic story. I want to think that it involves someone studying in a seminary who had “love or fear of the cold lead [them] through the night.” It’s beautiful. — D
The folky a cappella loop at the beginning is just so darn pleasant, a strange juxtaposition with certain aspects of the lyrical content. Breaking from the pack can often involve great risk. Sometimes it’s downright messy. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be beautiful, even if it doesn’t show up when or how we expect it to. — M
Ella was my first jazz love. Generally speaking, if there is a jazz tune out there and Ella has done a version of it, that version is my favorite version. I genuinely thought of naming a child after her. There is just something about the timbre of her voice, especially on words like “storm”. Who couldn’t feel warm listening to her sing? She makes these dexterous leaps that are unusual patterns for a voice, sounding more like a saxophone or a trumpet. (I wonder if her frequent collaboration with Louis was at all influential there?) And she does it all with an ease and grace that I’ve rarely heard elsewhere. — M
I like Pearl Jam. A Lot. I’m way more Pearl Jam than Nirvana, you know, back in the Middle Ages when I was in High School and that was a choice that some people had to make. As I’ve gotten older and more mature myself, I find that Pearl Jam has just gotten better and better. They embrace their maturity in that Eddie probably will not be climbing any lighting fixtures anytime too soon, but he’ll have a bottle of wine as he completely energizes thousands with his telecaster. He has the confidence to open his notebook and unabashedly share his soul with everyone, and no subject is off limits. I’m always amused/shocked when people who come to the concerts say things like “once he started talking I got annoyed” and my first thought is “have you ever heard these lyrics? do you know who you came to see?” And I aspire to be that one day. Also, Mike McCready is the greatest living guitar player. — D
I wonder if the police let him go because he is Vanilla, or because he is vanilla. #blacklivesmatter
Too cold, too cold.
Word to your mother. — M
I’ve written about this one before. This was a song that had me at mandolin, and whose lyrics had already slain me dead by the end of the first verse. Which means I spend the majority of listening to this album dead and/or crying. IT’S SO WONDERFUL.
I love the contrasting motion between the bass and the melody on the chorus, and all while someone holds the dominant pitch over the whole thing. I love the tremolo guitar peppered into the background of the second chorus and bridge. I love when the low harmony comes in on the third verse when almost everything else drops away.
Damnit, Frank. Every time. — M
My daughter loves this song. Which makes me very happy. In fact, that’s all I’m going to say about it. Just listen. It’s amazing. — D
When I first moved to Boston, I knew some people who wanted to put a band together. They wanted to play mostly covers but would let me play a few of my originals as well. This band was called Brother Rabbitt, after a character from The Commitments. It still stands as one of the coolest names of a band of all time, btw.
I was I guess the de facto lead singer, even though I never really felt like I was in charge, but that’s ok. I wanted to play music and get paid in beer and play more music. Actually, I wasn’t that much a fan of getting paid in beer, but that’s a totally different story. I suggested that we play this song and everyone looked at me sideways. I then played the Bangles version for the rest of the guys in the band. They were in. The distortion and harmonies fit in perfectly well with the sounds we had picked for ourselves. It was the first time I ever thought of myself as a guitar player who could play lead and gave me a ton of confidence to keep playing. (yay, Mary! I wrote the whole thing without mentioning my crush on Suzanna Hoffs!) — D
Thanks for reading. Thanks for listening. Thanks for being you.